You have no idea how hard I've looked
for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to
the gold mine, or water to the ocean.
Everything I came up with was like
taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my
soul because you already have these.
So I've brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me.


Shredded Beef Tacos

Shredded Beef Tacos with Verde Salsa

4lbs of chuck roast
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 14 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 4 ounce can of green chiles
1 cup of red wine
2 chipotle peppers
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 1/2 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of grape seed oil
1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
Tortillas (I used white corn tortillas)


Cut chuck roast into six pieces. Combine garlic powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, basil, and cinnamon and mix well. Rub seasoning on all side of chuck roast. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup of red wine, the cayenne pepper, and 2 chipotle peppers for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat large dutch oven or pot over high heat, add oil and sear chuck 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove chuck pieces from heat and tent with foil. Add onion slices and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and green chile and cook for one minute. Add red wine and chipotle sauce and cook for 3 minutes to deglaze pan. Add diced tomatoes and chuck roast pieces back to pot and mix well. Cover and cook in oven (or low cooker) for 3 hours until meat is fall apart tender. Remove meat from pot and shred with forks. Skim fat from the top of the sauce. Return shredded beef to pot with sauce. Heat tortillas (either grill one at a time about 1 minute per side or wrap in foil and heat for 15 minutes in 350 F oven). Arrange tacos with meat, cheese, Verde Sauce, Greek yogurt, lime and cilantro and enjoy.

TIP: You can finish the meat in a crock pot instead of the oven. At the point where you would place the dutch oven or pot in the oven, transfer the ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Verde Salsa

2 pounds of tomatillos (about 6), husked and washed
2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and halved
2 jalapenos, seeded and halved
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
4 coves of garlic, peel on
1 lime
1/2 cup of green onion, diced
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
1 avocado, diced
1 lime
5 tablespoons of Corona*
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

Tequila Lime Shredded Beef Tacos

  • 1 – 3 or 4 pound chuck roast (shoulder cut)
  • 3 TBSP oil
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin – lightly sprinkled over roast
  • 1 – 4oz can mild diced green chiles
  • 1 – 14.5oz Aldi’s Happy Harvest Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes – Salsa Style (or substitute one can regular fire roasted diced tomatoes plus ½ cup of your favorite salsa)
  • 3 TBSP good silver tequila
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • toppings of your choice
  1. Preheat oil in a large skillet over high heat until nearly smoking. Season beef while oil is heating, and place in skillet to sear 2-3 minutes on each side, or until well browned. Reduce heat to low, and place roast into crock pot on high heat.
  2. Pour can of green chiles and fire roasted tomatoes (and salsa if you are using it) into the skillet and stir, cooking for 2 minutes. Add tequila and cook another 2 minutes. Pour over the roast in the crock pot and place lid back on crock pot. Let cook for 4-5 hours on high, or 6-7 hours on low depending on your particular cut of meat and crock pot.
  3. When the roast is fork tender, remove from the crock pot and shred with two forks, removing any fat or connective tissue you find along the way. Pour all but ½ cup of the pan juices out of crock pot and place in fridge to chill. Replace shredded beef into the crock pot, stir, and turn setting to warm.
  4. When the pan juices have chilled and the fat has solidified on the top, scrape it off and pour more of the juice into the crock pot. You probably will not need it all. Save the rest for another use. (Would be great as a base for an enchilada sauce, or in a Mexican flavored soup.)
  5. Immediately before serving, stir in the juice of 1 lime into the beef.

Shredded Beef Tacos
These braised, shredded beef tacos take a few hours to prepare but are perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. You can make the meat ahead as they reheat beautifully, freeze well, and taste even better after a day or two.

  • 2 pounds chuck roast, beef brisket, or stew meat
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 chile chipotle in adobo, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Put the beef in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the water with the rest of the ingredients until dissolved. Pour over the beef. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat.
  3. Simmer for 2-3 hours, until beef can be easily shredded with two forks. Remove beef from pot with a slotted spoon and shred with two forks.
  4. Meanwhile, set the pot with the braising liquid over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced to about 1 cup. Pour over the shredded beef and mix.
  5. Serve the shredded beef in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or whatever else you want.

Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef (I used a boneless chuck roast)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (I love spice and used two!)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Flour tortillas
  • Favorite taco toppings:
  • guacamole or avocado
  • fresh salsa
  • Mexican rice
  • grated cheese
  • fresh lettuce
  • tomato
  • onion
  • cilantro
  • squeeze of lime juice

Whisk together the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side until browned. Add the diced onion and minced garlic on top of the seared beef in the slow cooker.
Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker. Leave the pan on the heat, and add in the beef stock to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and minced chipotle and whisk into the pan sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a 3-5 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Pour the pan sauce down over the onions, garlic, and beef in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Shred the beef and onions with two forks. Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings.

With That Moon Language | Jivamukti Yoga

With That Moon Language | Jivamukti Yoga

With That Moon Language

Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
Someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a
Full moon in each eye that is always saying,
With that sweet moon language, what every other eye in
This world is dying to hear?


What you desire most for yourself, why not provide it for others first? Life offers us infinite opportunities to see ourselves in others. When we look into the eyes of another, see our reflection and ask of that other to “love me,” we have ventured into the realm of Self. To get a secure footing into that, one must leave their selfishness and self-loathing behind. Love is not something you can do or something you can give; it is all-inclusive. You cannot love anyone or anything—Love is too big to be controlled like that by “you.” Love has nobody, nobody has love. You can only be Love itself.

When you take the time to sit with someone quietly, both of you being still and close enough so that you can see into the eyes of the other person, you will see yourself reflected. We mirror one another. It takes a certain amount of daring to do such a thing—it is so intimate. Even with someone you know and consider a friend, for most of us it is awkward to get that close. Of course there are times and occasions when this type of intimacy is accepted. It most often happens with mothers and their babies, and lovers when they are first getting to know each other often spend long periods of time in this type of reflective moon glow. But it certainly isn’t a common daily practice among most of us. We are either too busy to be bothered with looking that closely at the others in our lives, or afraid of the potential consequences, and instead seek ways to avoid interaction with most people we encounter during our day, our week or our lives. Has it always been like this? Is this a natural way to live?

Some people say that there are only two kinds of beings in the world, the predator and the prey. They will draw parallels with wild animals and point out that carnivores never look directly into the eyes of anyone unless it is to challenge them to a fight, or hypnotize and frighten another animal that they intend to eat. Vegetarian animals on the other hand tend to have large eyes and are constantly on the lookout for enemies. Many human beings identify themselves as predators, because they insist it is the better option. Of course I don’t agree with that, but I will say if we acknowledge it as a fact for some people it may help us begin to understand the fear and paranoia that permeate our social interactions with others. Cultural conditioning can lie deep, but the good news is that it is learned and so it can be unlearned.

Philosopher Ken Wilber says that generally speaking, men and women are biologically under the influence of two very different chemicals and that over many thousands of years, our patriarchal-meat eating-military-power based culture has utilized this for its advancement in areas of exploitation. Testosterone basically, at its worst, expresses itself as sexual aggression, manipulation and violence. The corresponding influence is oxytocin, a hormone that induces strong feelings of attachment, nurturing, holding and touching. Most of us (at least those of us who are reading this essay) don’t live in a world where we are constantly being chased by an aggressor and have to run for our lives or turn and engage in combat. But still many men and women behave as if this were the case. But as spiritual practitioners, looking to evolve, we investigate other modes of relating to one another and in doing so we uncover more possibilities within ourselves. Perhaps yoga allows a man to become more of a shaman, tuning into his feminine side and thereby discovering less competitive, aggressive ways to relate to others. Perhaps for women, yoga can help to develop more fearlessness and confidence without having to compromise nurturing. Yoga can help us all feel more relaxed and at ease with ourselves and others.

A spiritual seeker is someone who is looking to find themselves. If we want to embark on the spiritual adventure of daring to look into the eyes of another and feel comfortable about it without any ulterior motive other than pure perception of being, we could start by practicing with kindred spirits—other yoga practitioners—in the safe and sanctified space of the yoga classroom, a place put aside for the investigation of such matters. The quest is this: To see yourself in others—to look so deeply that otherness disappears—leaving only the Self, Love itSelf.

Yoga philosophy states that the world is a projection coming from our own mind—for better or for worse. If you have negative thoughts in your mind, you see negativity in others. We could remember that harboring negative thoughts in our minds is optional, and choose instead to embrace positive thoughts, and then these positive thoughts would radiate from us into the world and affect all the other beings that we “see.” Eventually through this practice we will realize that there are no others—and it is at this point that Self-realization arises.

We all want to be loved, we want people to like us, we want to be acknowledged, and we don’t want to be ignored or made to feel insignificant. A yogi knows this truth, that all beings matter, and when you dare to care, dare to reach out towards another for the sake of pure love, with that sweet moon language, it transforms yourself and the other.

—Sharon Gannon

Teaching notes:

Here are some key thematic points, which may provide a direction for your teaching this month. In most cases focusing on just one of these points would be enough material for a class session. Some of the points have very practical physical application while others are presented in a more conceptual approach. I hope you will be able to find at least one thing here that speaks to you and that these suggestions will act as promptings, little nudges to get you going into the endless and exciting adventure of looking deeper into something. Then I wish you well in your ability to articulate to the students who come to you, the insights you have uncovered from your contemplation and research. –with love and blessings, Sharon


Basically it is Love. Love. We all want Love. We want to love. We all want to be loved. Real Love. Unconditional Love. Transcendental Love. Cosmic Love. All we need is Love. God is Love. Love will set us free. Through Love you find yourself—the Self.


Hafiz was a prolific writer and has been translated into many languages. Teachers may want to get a book of Hafiz poems and be inspired by them as I have been. The Hafiz poem in this Focus of the Month essay is taken from a book titled, Love Poems from God, twelve sacred voices from the East and West. It includes poetry by the Sufi poet Hafiz along with eleven others all translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Here is an excerpt from the short biography that Ladinsky includes with the chapter on Hafiz: “Shams-ud-Muhammad Hafiz (c.1320-1389) is the most beloved poet of Persians and is considered to be one of history’s greatest lyrical geniuses. Though he is little known in the western world, many notables including Emerson, Goethe, Garcia Lorca, the composer Brahms and even Nietzsche were deeply affected by him. Hafiz was born Shams-ud-Muhammad but later chose the pen name Hafiz, which means memorizer and denotes a person who knows the entire Quran by heart. Hafiz’s poems contain and reveal all the stages of divine vision, experience, and love. He cloaked these truths in vernacular garb, as was the tradition in Sufi schools at that time since secrecy was often essential in the climate of life-threatening fundamentalism.”


As with each Focus of the Month, this essay allows us to expand and venture into areas that we might not normally go, but by going we learn ways to connect the practices of yoga to more and more aspects of our own life (both personal and political). An intelligent person is someone who can make connections. So we increase our intelligence as we stretch our minds each month to incorporate the monthly focus. Hopefully through this process insights will arise as new connections are made in the mind and heart and the expanding of consciousness results. As Hafiz says in the poem, “think about this—this great pull in us to connect.”


Love me are the key words in the Poem. “Love me” is what Hafiz says are the words that everyone wants to say. To understand the meaning of those two words we have to look deeply into those two words. What does “love” mean? What does “me” mean? What is love and who is me?

The teacher may want to focus attention on the moon, in Sanskrit called chandra, and use the FOM to explore various hatha yoga exercises which bring balance to the channels of the HA (sun) and Tha (moon). The Hatha Yoga Pradipika could be a valuable resource here. Ida nadi is the Moon channel—some of the attributes are: feminine, night, yin, mental, cold, intuition, desire, subconscious, internal, passive, parasympathetic nervous system—attributes taken from page 285 of The Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Sw. Muktibodhanada of the Bihar School.

Focusing on the Moon, the teacher could venture into the metaphysical question, what is the language of the moon? What does the moon talk about and to whom? In the poem, Hafiz talks about a person whose eyes are like two full moons that speak sweet moon language.

Hafiz speaks in the poem of the full Moon or purnima in Sanskrit. When something is full it is complete, and in need of nothing.


Using the Moon as your theme could lead you to explore asanas and/or asana sequences associated with the moon. Some individual asanas which you may choose to focus on could be: ardha chandrasana (half moon), parivritta ardha chandrasana (rotated half-moon), chakorasana (moonbird), Bhairavasana and Natarajasana (both forms of Shiva, who is a Moon deity). Or another example would be to teach one of the sequences: Moon Rise or Moon Dance both found in the Jivamukti Yoga Book. If you choose to focus in your class on a moon-themed asana or sequence it would be best, if you do choose to go this route, not to simply call out the name of the asana within a vinyasa, but instead to really teach the asana or these sequences: going into detail, preparing the student with warm up asanas and then breaking certain aspects down slowly, investigating alignment, utilizing props or the wall to help get a deeper experience. Then putting it all together again. Don’t be afraid to do a sequence more than once. Taking time to focus thoroughly on one asana or one sequence can allow students to experience a breakthrough, which may not be possible for them if the asana is done quickly without detailed instruction. I would suggest that if you are going to focus on the exploration of an asana that you don’t spend a lot of class time in mentally contemplating theory or philosophy but that you set aside ample time for the actual physical exploration of the asana. In other words get right to it, no need for a long dharma talk at the beginning of class.


The word shaman is made up of two parts: sha=she + man=mind. Many shaman were medicine men, healers who could walk between worlds and shapeshift. In order for a man to be able to assume the position of a shaman he had to expand his gender role away from the testosterone powered normal man and instead incorporate a feminine way of thinking and being, thus his mind became a she-mind or a shaman, enabling him to perceive the world more feelingly and so relate more sensitively. A shaman could be seen as a yogi—one who has joined (yoked) their male and female aspects into one central unified whole.


I do mention Ken Wilber in the Focus of the Month essay. In many of his books he talks about the biological influence of hormones on our behavior and on our relationships with others. He cites testosterone as a potent chemical: “ I don’t mean to be crude, but it appears that testoserone basically has two and only two major drives: fuck it or kill it. And males are saddled with this biological nightmare almost from day one, a nightmare women can barely imagine. Worse, men sometimes fuse and confuse these two drives, with fuck it and kill it dangerously merging, which rarely has happy consequences, as women are more than willing to point out.”—page 4, A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber


Exercise #1 (sitting): Teachers may want to lead an exercise with partners, sitting close but across from each other, looking into each others’ eyes. Instructing the students to practice seeing through the veils of otherness to a level of intimacy and revelation not often available to most of us in our daily lives. Teachers please keep in mind that some students may feel intensely uncomfortable with this exercise. They may express it with nervous laughter, or even with downright inability to maintain a steady commitment to the focus of the exercise. It may also play itself out for some students as a staring contest. The pairing should be as random as possible. Best to leave it to chance. Strangers may be paired together, as well as people who already know each other. It doesn’t really matter. There is an ancient Buddhist saying that goes something like: Everyone you meet has been your mother/lover at some point in another lifetime (if not this one). In truth we are not strangers. The ultimate truth is we are not separate, we are one. But how to get to that evolved level of realization if we first can’t just sit comfortably with one another and connect through, as Hafiz would say, “moon language.”

But what does it mean to connect? What connects us? So the ability to connect is really the practice with the partner exercise. How to do that? It may start with seeing that this other person is also uncomfortable with the exercise. When you see that, you may feel less inclined to be so self-conscience and instead communicate “silent” reassurances to your partner. You begin to see that your partner wants the same things that you do. They don’t want to be judged by you (or anyone); they want you to like them. They want to be acknowledged, not ignored. They don’t want you to feel bored while in their company. Another way to begin to understand connection might start with actually seeing your own face reflected in the pupils of the other, and silently say, as Hafiz instructs, “Love me.” Or you could fall into a contemplation and silently repeat a mantra as if you were speaking to God.

Exercise #2 (asana): Have one partner gaze at the other while the other is involved in an asana like a headstand, visualizing that the person they are gazing at is doing the perfect asana, in other words see the partner as the perfect yogi.


Teachers may want to arrange the class so that students are facing each other as they practice asana (if space and room configuration allows).


The teacher may suggest to the students to think of a person in their own lives and dedicate the class to them. You could take it a step further and use the words “Love me” or “I love you” like a mantra, coordinating the mantra with the breath practice, surya namaskar or any other part of the class.


As the moon reflects the sun, we all reflect each other, the whole world is a mirror. As mirrors that can be set up in such a way that they reflect each other providing a visual experience of endlessness, the seemingly infinite possibilities of life can be seen as such in the metaphor of the mirrors. Ultimately no matter how you look at it all the reflections come back eventually to the perceiver—as the seer sees, so the seen is seen.


The relationship between student and teacher is a spiritual one. By spiritual I mean that it is focused on identity. The student seeks out a teacher because they want to know who they are. They are looking for help in understanding the confounding complexities of their own personality. They are having an identity crisis. Usually this search starts when the student begins to realize that they may be more than they thought they were or that life may be more than just eating, sleeping, money, sex, marriage, home, job, car, etc. This is why the spiritual path is not for normal people; it is for people who are looking for something more than what is considered survival or sensual gratification. They are at a critical point where they are questioning the existence of such concepts as God and Love. Traditionally the guru provided the student a love object. The guru allowed the student to love them. It was understood between each party that the relationship would be one based on love. The teacher would by their very presence become a focus for the student to pour their feelings into. It was a unique relationship in the fact that there was no sexual gratification or material gain involved. You could say it was a “pure” relationship in that sense. There was nothing that the teacher could give the student but love. “I can’t give you anything but love.” There was nothing that the teacher needed or wanted from the student—other than the student’s happiness or ultimate enlightenment, which is the realization of Love. Love is that which connects us all—it is the ground of being. It is slippery as mercury and cannot be grasped, while at the same time it is attractive, embracing, enveloping, nurturing and constant.

The teacher provides a mirror for the student. The teacher reflects back onto the student who they really are. The teacher reminds the student of God. The teacher reminds the student of who they really are. The teacher is a doorway that the student uses to walk through into the realm of infinite possibilities.

The student was permitted to use the teacher in order to see themselves. The teacher, it was understood, would act as a passive mirror reflecting the student’s outward as well as innermost desires. This is why we hear of many accounts between students and their gurus, where the student says things to the effect that “It was like they saw right through me. There is nothing I can hide from them; I am transparent in their presence. They seem to know everything about me, and yet they still love me, unconditionally.”


The teacher may want to suggest to the student that after they leave the class, whenever they encounter someone, whether walking down the street or wherever, they silently say, using Moon Language, “Love Me.”


Love Poems from God translated by Daniel Ladinsky. This is the book that includes the poem, With That Moon Language; it has other poems by other mystical poets too, including Rumi, St Francis of Assisi, Kabir, St Theresa of Avila, St John of the Cross and Mira.

The Gift, The Subject Tonight is Love, and I Heard God Laughing; all are poems by Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

The Jivamukti Yoga Book by S. Gannon & D. Life. The asanas and asana sequences I spoke about can be found here.

A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber. Since I referenced him you may want to check out this book or other books by him.

A Garland of Forest Flowers by Swami Nirmalananda. Being Love itself is one of Swami’s favorite themes.

The Essential Yoga Sutra by Geshe Michael Roach & Christie McNally. These two authors are able to find Emptiness (shunyata) in the Yoga Sutra quite nicely.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Sw. Muktibodhiananda of the Bihar School.


Here are some songs I would include on my playlist this month, I realize they are mostly from my 60’s generation but nonetheless, the lyrics really do speak to this month’s focus:
All You Need is Love (Beatles)
Higher Love (Donovan, from the album Sutra)
I’ll be your Mirror (Nico & the Velvet Underground)
Wild is the Wind (David Bowie from the album Station to Station)
Love Invincible (Michael Franti, from the album Everyone Deserves Music)

Yoga Schmoga

I love this.......via Elephant Journal (thank you)!

Via on Oct 8, 2013

This world is your body. This world is a great school. This world is your silent teacher.

~ Swami Sivananda

Official Yoga Schmoga Sutra:
1. All we need is love.
In addition to oxygen, water, food and shelter, we humans need love. We are all the same in that we need love in the forms of friendship, service, goodwill, loving kindness, romance, enthusiasm, compassion, companionship and devotion.
2. Practice is a process.
Yoga and meditation practice is an ideal laboratory for self-study. If your ego is ruling your practice, that’s not yoga. There will always be people “better” and “worse” than us. Continually dropping judgment of ourselves and others is key.
3. Yoga all the time.
The answer is always yoga. The more you do it, the better you get and the better you feel. The better you feel, the better you will be able to positively influence those around you.
What you carry off the mat is more than the mere benefits of asana practice. It is mindfulness in motion. It is communication, relationship, sustenance, openness, vitality. What if you practiced yoga nonstop?
4. All things must pass.
Although everyone has their own pain, we all share the same suffering. All suffering works backward from a fear of death. Yet knowing that we will all pass away and that nothing lasts forever is what makes life sweet. No matter how foul or fabulous the mood, it is bound to pass sooner or later. Ultimately, everything will.
5. Perfection is a myth.
There is no such thing as perfect balance. It’s okay to occasionally fall on your face. Strive for virtue but allow for failures. Be kind to yourself. As Dr. Seuss would say, you are the perfect you today.
6. Never stop learning.
Soak up knowledge, add experience, get wisdom. Everyone is a teacher. Pay close attention. The precious people in our lives—from parents to partners to passersby—are mirrors for the best and worst in us. Be thankful for them.
7. Balance self-awareness and self-acceptance.
Listen to your intuition. Turn your attention inward. Moment to moment, as much as possible, follow your natural flow of energy: sleep when tired; eat when hungry; dance when you feel like it. Don’t fight to be something other than you are. Know how you work and accept that you are in the right place at the right time. The path is the goal. Happiness is the journey itself.
8. Be. Here. Now.
Meditate for sanity, to become a beacon of peace, to cultivate compassion. Our only choice is to live in this present. We must accept this gift of a precious human life. Yoga Schmoga is a lifelong process.
Yoga Schmoga heightens my awareness of my connection to my own self, this amazing Earth, and every unique being upon it.
Yoga has given me the priceless gift of embodying the present moment without grasping at it. It can, and will, do the same for you.

7 Pieces Of Advice I Wish I'd Known When I Was Younger

Several years ago, I was stuck in a quarter-life crisis. For over a decade, I lived this delusional nightmare of co-dependency and was on an endless search for security, without success. My romantic relationships were carefully chosen to escape the painful reality of my anxieties. I consistently picked partners who were addicted to numbing their pain like me, and we’d escape life by doing drugs together and drinking to drown our fear. When I would finally get up enough courage to recognize that a relationship was unhealthy, I would end it, only to find myself back in the arms of different addiction — overeating, over-exercising, overworking, overspending, more men and more drugs. I lived in a constant state of denial, consumed by my fear-based mind.

I was always waiting for the next thing to happen: the next promotion, the next boyfriend, the next anything, always hoping it would drag me out of my depression. It never occurred to me that “pushing” was the problem. My inner drive and constant need to force things to happen was really just a cry for help, an outburst and a desperate need for love.

Today my life looks much different. I'm happy, healthy, addiction free, and living a life I love. Suffering through the depression and addictions sparked a deep desire for me to stop holding back and to start living a life that had real meaning.

Along the way, I discovered the source of my unhappiness. It was the fact that I was ignoring my inner voice and refusing to ask myself, “What do I really want?” If I could have seen my future-self back then, well, I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different.

Here's what I wish I would have known.

1. Every ending is the beginning of something much better.

Let go of the situation, the pain and your expectations. That person who broke your heart is a blessing, as well as a lesson. You've grown, and this ending is preparing you for something much grander. Be open to the unknown; it's filled with magic and miracles. Everything is in its right order, and something much better is on its way to you.

2. You can love what you do for a living.

You don't ever have to stay in a situation that hurts your spirit. If you don't like your job, you CAN walk away. As soon as you do, the universe will swoop in and show you a new opportunity. Trust the unknown. Allow yourself to dream and to imagine a life beyond even your wildest dreams. You can love what you do for a living!

3. The journey is the reward — there is no destination.

Let go of the “there.” Your focus on the future is keeping you out of the moment, and you're not really living your life. The journey is where the magic happens. The destination is right here, right now.

4. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

Stop being a victim, and thinking that life happens to you. You have the power to change anything in your life. If you don't like something, then get up your courage and change it. You're more powerful than you ever give yourself credit for. You, my younger self, can move mountains and change your fate when you're truly ready and willing.

5. You are beautiful.

My dear one, you spend far too much time thinking about your weight, the number on the scale, and food. The number on the scale does not define who you are.

Food is not the enemy, and your body will one day be your best friend. Don't be so hard on yourself! You’re much more beautiful than you will ever give yourself credit for, and your weight is not who you are, nor will it ever define or limit your greatness.

6. What people say is a reflection of them, not you.

You spend far too much time asking what other people think, and listening to them. You allow their opinions to become your own. Know that what they say and do has nothing to do with you.

7. This too shall pass.

Change is the only constant in life; clinging to anything is what causes suffering and unhappiness. What ails you at the moment does not need to define you. You are not your problems. What seems traumatic and life changing today will be a fond memory tomorrow. This too shall pass!

And remember, no matter what you're going through right now, tomorrow is a new day and it always works out in the end.

Cucumber Salad + Peanut Citrus Dressing

2 1/2 cups English cucumbers, sliced and quartered
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 head of purple cabbage, sliced
handful cilantro, roughly chopped
handful cashews, for garnish
red pepper flakes, for garnish (optional)

Peanut Citrus Dressing
3 tablespoons orange juice, lime juice or lemon juice, + more as needed
3 tablespoons raw or natural peanut butter (almond or cashew butter is great too)
1 tablespoon tamari, bragg's liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 garlic clove, grated
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
pinch of red pepper flakes or 1/2 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the peanut citrus dressing, set aside allowing the flavors to come together. Then before adding the dressing to the salad, taste for flavor adding anything extra you might like. For a thinner dressing add 1 or 2 tablespoons citrus juice or water. 

To make it thicker add a tad bit more nut butter.
Prepare your salad ingredients. Check your dressing for flavor. In a large bowl combine the salad mix with the dressing, toss well and serve. Top with cashews and red pepper flakes. Serves two.
Notes for the dressing: Use the orange juice for a less tangy dressing. I used orange for this recipe and have also used lemon as well. Both were great, and I know the lime will be wonderful too! You can also lessen the amount of juice replacing it with water. Add in some citrus zest of choice if desired. And if your a vinegar lover, try adding a splash or two of rice vinegar!
Try tossing in a cup of cooked quinoa after mixing for a more nutritionally balanced profile.


The future is completely open and we are writing it moment to moment.

~ Prema Chodron

Change is not a process for the impatient.

~Barbara Reinhold

Coffee and Health

Had to repost this :)
Ask the Expert: Coffee and Health
Dr. Rob van Dam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health

The Summary
Drinking up to six cups a day of coffee is not associated with increased risk of death from any cause, or death from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Some people may still want to consider avoiding coffee or switching to decaf, especially women who are pregnant,or people who have a hard time controlling their blood pressure or blood sugar.

It’s best to brew coffee with a paper filter,to remove a substance that causes increases in LDL cholesterol.

Coffee may have potential health benefits, but more research needs to be done.

Read more about coffee and tea compared to other beverages.

1. The latest Harvard study on coffee and health seems to offer good news for coffee drinkers. What did the research find?

We looked at the relationship between coffee consumption and overall mortality in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which together included about 130,000 study volunteers. (1) At the start of the study, these healthy men and women were in their 40s and 50s. We followed them for 18 to 24 years, to see who died during that period, and to track their diet and lifestyle habits,including coffee consumption. We did not find any relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease. Even people who drank up to six cups of coffee per day were at no higher risk of death. This finding fits into the research picture that has been emerging over the past few years: For the general population, the evidence suggests that coffee drinking doesn’t have any serious detrimental health effects.

2. So for coffee drinkers, no news is good news? Why is this finding so important?

It’s an important message because people have seen coffee drinking as an unhealthy habit, along the lines of smoking and excessive drinking, and they may make a lot of effort to reduce their coffee consumption or quit drinking it altogether, even if they really enjoy it. Our findings suggest that if you want to improve your health, it’s better to focus on other lifestyle factors, such as increasing your physical activity, quitting smoking, or eating more whole grains.

3. Is there an upper limit for the amount of coffee that is healthy to drink each day?

If you’re drinking so much coffee that you get tremors, have sleeping problems, or feel stressed and uncomfortable, than obviously you’re drinking too much coffee. But in terms of effects on mortality or other health factors, for example, we don’t see any negative effects of consuming up to six cups of coffee a day. Keep in mind that our study and in most studies of coffee, a “cup” of coffee is an 8-ounce cup with 100 mg of caffeine, not the 16 ounces you would get in a grande coffee at a Starbucks, which has about 330 mg of caffeine.

Also keep in mind that the research is typically based on coffee that’s black or with a little milk or sugar, but not with the kind of high-calorie coffeehouse beverages that have become popular over the past few years. A 24-ounce mocha Frappachino at Starbucks with whipped cream has almost 500 calories—that’s 25 percent of the daily calorie intake for someone who requires 2,000 calories a day. People may not realize that having a beverage like that adds so much to their energy intake,and they may not compensate adequately by eating less over the course of the day. This could lead to weight gain over time, which could in turn increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and that’s a major concern.

4. Is there any research that suggests coffee may have some beneficial health effects?

Yes, research over the past few years suggests that coffee consumption may protect against type 2 diabetes,Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, and liver cirrhosis. And our latest study on coffee and mortality found that people who regularly drank coffee actually had a somewhat lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those who rarely drank coffee; this result needs to be confirmed in further studies, however. This is a pretty active area of research right now, and it’s not at the stage where we would say,”Start drinking coffee to increase your health even if you don’t like it.” But I think the evidence is good that for people in general—outside of a few populations, such as pregnant women, or people who have trouble controlling their blood pressure or blood sugar—coffee is one of the good, healthy beverage choices.

5. Why does it seem like scientists keep flip-flopping on whether coffee is bad for you or good for you?

Often people think of coffee just as a vehicle for caffeine. But it’s actually a very complex beverage with hundreds and hundreds of different compounds in it. Since coffee contains so many different compounds, drinking coffee can lead to very diverse health outcomes. It can be good for some things and bad for some things, and that’s not necessarily flip-flopping or inconsistent. Few foods are good for everything. That’s why we do studies on very specific health effects—for example, studies of how coffee affects the risk of diabetes—but we also conduct studies such as this most recent one looking at coffee consumption and mortality over a long period of time, which better reflects the overall health effect.

Coffee is also a bit more complex to study than some other food items. Drinking coffee often goes along together with cigarette smoking, and with a lifestyle that’s not very health conscious. For example, people who drink lots of coffee tend to exercise less.They are less likely to use dietary supplements, and they tend to have a less healthful diet. So in the early studies on coffee and health, it was hard to separate the effects of coffee from the effects of smoking or other lifestyle choices.

Over the several decades that coffee has been studied, there have been some reports that coffee may increase the risk of certain cancers or the risk of heart disease. But in better conducted studies, such as the one we just published—larger studies that have a lot of information about all other lifestyle factors and make a real effort to control for these lifestyle factors—we do not find many of these health effects that people were afraid of.

6. What is the latest research on the risks of coffee or caffeine during pregnancy?

For pregnant women, there has been quite a bit of controversy over whether high intake of coffee or caffeine may increase the risk of miscarriage. The jury is still out. But we know that the caffeine goes through the placenta and reaches the fetus, and that the fetus is very sensitive to caffeine; it metabolizes it very slowly. So for pregnant women it seems prudent to reduce coffee consumption to a low level, for example one cup a day.

7. Should people with high blood pressure consider reducing their coffee or caffeine intake? What about people with diabetes?

We know that if people are not used to using any caffeine, and they start to use caffeine, their blood pressure goes up substantially. Within a week of caffeine consumption, however,we see that the effect is less pronounced—there is less of an increase in blood pressure. After several weeks of continued caffeine consumption, however, a little bit of increase in blood pressure remains. In studies that look at the incidence of hypertension in the general population, drinking caffeinated coffee is not associated with a substantial increase in risk. But if people have hypertension, and are having a hard time controlling their hypertension,they could try switching from caffeinated coffee to decaffeinated coffee, to see if it has a beneficial effect.

With diabetes, it’s a bit of a paradox. Studies around the world consistently show that high consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee is associated with low risk of type 2 diabetes. But if you look at acute studies that just give people caffeine or caffeinated coffee, and then have them eat something rich in glucose, their sensitivity to insulin drops and their blood glucose levels are higher than expected. There isn’t any long-term data on coffee consumption and glucose control. But if people have diabetes and have trouble controlling their blood glucose,it may be beneficial for them to try switching from caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee. Making the switch from caffeinated to decaf may be better than quitting coffee altogether, because some research suggests that decaffeinated coffee actually reduces the glucose response.

8. How do you explain the paradoxical findings on coffee and caffeine consumption and diabetes?

It’s possible that there are simply different effects for short-term and long-term intake of coffee and caffeine.And, as I mentioned before, it’s becoming increasingly clear that coffee is much more than caffeine, and the health effects that you see for caffeinated coffee are often different than what you would expect based on its caffeine content.

For example, if you look at exercise performance, it seems that caffeine can be somewhat beneficial, but caffeinated coffee is not. Or if you look at blood pressure and compare the effects of caffeinated coffee to the effects of caffeine, you’ll find that caffeinated coffee causes blood pressure increases that are substantially weaker than what one would expect for the amount of caffeine it contains. The same is true for the relationship between coffee, caffeine, and blood glucose after a meal. It’s possible that there are compounds in coffee that may counteract the effect of caffeine, but more research needs to be done.

9. Is drinking coffee made with a paper filter healthier than drinking boiled coffee or other types of coffee?

Coffee contains a substance called cafestol that is a potent stimulator of LDL cholesterol levels. Cafestolis found in the oily fraction of coffee, and when you brew coffee with a paper filter, the cafestol gets left behind in the filter. Other methods of coffee preparation, such as the boiled coffee common in Scandinavian countries, French press coffee, or Turkish coffee, are much higher in cafestol. So for people who have high cholesterol levels or who want to prevent having high cholesterol levels, it is better to choose paper filtered coffee or instant coffee, since they have much lower levels of cafestol than boiled or French press coffee.Espresso is somewhere in the middle; it has less cafestol than boiled or French press coffee, but more than paper filtered coffee.

10. Do tea and coffee have similar beneficial effects?

One could expect some of the beneficial effects of coffee to be similar for tea, since some of the compounds are similar. A study in China has found that drinking large quantities of Oolongtea—a liter a day—is beneficial for glycemic control in people with diabetes.But research on tea in the U.S.has not shown the type of beneficial effect we see for coffee, probably because people in the U.S.tend to drink tea that is weaker in strength and tend to drink less of it.

Found Here:

This coffee grinder is actually an awesome photo manipulation by digital artist AZRainman.

Egg Avocados, mmm fat + protein how perfect :) Eggocado

One of the healthiest and yummiest breakfast/snacks ever!! High in protein and healthy fats. SO good for you! And delicious ;-)

Whole avocado
Cayenne pepper (or any spice of your choice)
Cheese (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). 

Remove the stone from an avocado. Scoop out a little more avocado to increase the size of the stone's crater. Crack an egg into the crater. Sprinkle with Cayenne pepper (cheese too if you desire).

Bake until egg is cooked to preference.

Stormy Seas

“A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner, neither do uninterrupted prosperity and success qualify for usefulness and happiness. The storms of adversity, like those of the ocean, rouse the faculties, and excite the invention, prudence, skill and fortitude or the voyager. The martyrs of ancient times, in bracing their minds to outward calamities, acquired a loftiness of purpose and a moral heroism worth a lifetime of softness and security.”